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Microbusinesses and the Occupational Stress Process: Emotional Demands, Job Resources, and Depression among Korean Immigrant Microbusiness Owners and Paid Employees in Toronto, Canada
Il-Ho Kim1,3 , Samuel Noh3, Cyu-Chul Choi2, Kwame McKenzie3,4
1Department of Health Policy Research, Seoul Health Foundation, Seoul, Korea
2Western University Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry , Toronto, Canada
3Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
4Wellesley Institute, Toronto, Canada
Corresponding Author: Il-Ho Kim ,Tel: 010-9892-7211, Fax: 02-2126-3525, Email: kihsdh@gmail.com
Received: June 3, 2019;  Accepted: August 2, 2019.
ABSTRACT
Objectives:
While occupational stress has long been a central focus of psychological research, few studies have investigated how immigrant microbusiness owners (MBOs) respond to their unusually demanding occupation, or how their unresolved occupational stress manifests in psychological distress. Based on the job demands-resources model, this study compared MBOs to employees with regard to the relationships among emotional demands, job resources, and depressive symptoms.
Method:
Data were derived from a cross-sectional survey of 1,288 Korean immigrant workers (MBOs, professionals, office workers, and manual workers) aged 30 to 70, living in Toronto and surrounding areas. Face-to-face interviews were conducted between March and November 2013.
Results:
Among the 4 occupational groups, MBOs appeared to endure the greatest level of emotional demands, while reporting relatively lower levels of job satisfaction and job security; but MBOs reported the greatest job autonomy. The effect of emotional demands on depressive symptoms was greater for MBOs than for professionals. However, an inspection of stress-resource interactions indicated that though MBOs enjoyed the greatest autonomy, the protective effects of job satisfaction and security on the psychological risk of emotional demands appeared to be more pronounced for MBOs than for any of the employee groups.
Conclusions:
One in two Korean immigrants choose self-employment, most typically in family-owned microbusinesses that involve emotionally taxing dealings with clients and suppliers. However, the benefits of job satisfaction and security may protect MBOs from the adverse mental health effects of job stress.
Key words: Microbusiness Owners; Emotional Demands; Job Resources; Depression; Korean Immigrants; Canada
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